CPATH appreciates the opportunity to comment on public health concerns
regarding the investment provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The investment chapter
includes rules for enforcing the terms of the agreement, including through the Investor-State Dispute Resolution System (ISDS),
which has been used to contest a wide range of public health policies. The TPP’s proposed “exception”
from ISDS disputes in the case of tobacco control measures is limited at best.
Public health measures authorize local, state and national governments to identify, monitor and promote the conditions
that achieve and maintain healthy individuals, communities and populations. These range from protection
from tobacco and other hazards, to sustainable economic systems that increase income equality, democratic political inclusion
and social justice.
Trade agreements establish
countries’ mutual rights and obligations with regard to trade. Matters of concern to public health include: tariffs;
intellectual property rules on access to affordable medicines and to information, copyrights, and advertising; services ranging
from banking to health care, water supply, and distribution of alcohol products; government procurement for grants and contracts;
agriculture; and internet access and information privacy. These agreements can provide a basis for altering the implementation
of domestic U.S. laws and policies, as well as those of our trading partners. Trade rules that advance corporations’
ability to operate within uniform and predictable rules can foster sustainable economic development, democracy, and peace.
They can also conflict with or subordinate policies that prioritize people’s health.
The TPP and other trade deals should safeguard
and improve the economic well-being of Americans and our trading partners, promote
the health of our communities, and advance economically and socially just, democratically controlled, and environmentally
the TPP prioritizes commercial gain at the expense of people's health, including protection from deadly tobacco products,
and undermines democratic sovereignty to make decisions to safeguard and improve our health. It expands the rights of transnational corporations to protect their profits over the rights of democratically
elected governments and the public. These include the right to challenge the implementation of domestic laws and regulations
in international trade tribunals.
Congress can’t amend the TPP, but can only vote
yes or no on the whole package, due to “Fast Track” rules. The text on tobacco control and other key
public health concerns therefore requires particularly careful analysis. These concerns are also relevant to other complex, multi-national trade agreements being negotiated by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR),
including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
with the European Union, and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).
[See entire statement
at link above.]
Institute of Medicine. The
future of public health in the 21st century.
National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
November, 2002. http://www.iom.edu/Object.File/Master/4/165/0.pdf